Aflamuna Connection selects 14 emerging Arab filmmaker projects for eighth edition (exclusive)

Source: Aflamuna Connection

Myriam Sassine

Aflamuna Connection, formerly known as Beirut Cinema Platform, has selected 14 feature film projects to participate in its eighth edition, which will be the first edition to be held under the new name Aflamuna (Our films).

Reflecting emerging Arab filmmaker voices, the 14 projects range between fiction, docu-fiction and documentaries, and feature 11 projects in development and three in post-production. The selected projects come from Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia.

Titles include Moondove, a docu-fiction from Lebanese filmmaker Karim Kassem, whose documentary Octopus won the top prize in the Envision competition at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2021.

Also included is Yasir Kareem’s fiction feature Ayn Hara, an Iraq-Italy co-production. Kareem’s short film Kingdom Of Garbage won a special jury mention at Tribeca Film Festival in 2015, and best short at Malmö Arab Film Festival in 2016.

Hana Alomair’s project Dancing On Fire is also among the selection, which was developed at the Red Sea Lodge residency programme in 2022 where it won the MBC Academy/Shahid Award for Arab world distribution for a Saudi project. The historical drama explores the joys and freedoms enjoyed by women in tribal communities in pre-oil Saudi Arabia. 

Aflamuna’s eighth edition will be held entirely online starting from April 1 with consultations and masterclasses, followed by meetings over three days from April 19-21, with 100 international film professionals, producers, sales agents, programmers and fund managers offering networking opportunities and potential collaborations.

The selected projects will compete for an €8,000 cash prize offered by France’s CNC, along with other prizes and consultations offered by Rotterdam’s Producer’s Lab, Pop Up Film Residency and Film Independent’s Global Media Makers program.

This edition will unfold at a time of sadness for the Arab region with the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. “The atrocities inflicted on our region and the news from around the world continue to worsen beyond belief,” said Myriam Sassine, manager of Aflamuna Connection, adding: “This grim reality only amplifies our commitment to support the voices of Arab independent filmmakers.”

The platform has made a remarkable evolution since its transition online in 2021. “We are now able to provide a tailor-made experience for each project selected by offering them specific consultations and guidance,” said Sassine.

“Some of our guests this year are representatives of IDFA, Red Sea Labs, Venice Film Festival, Marrakech Film Festival, The Party Film Sales, Hot Docs, Karlovy Vary, AFAC, Sundance Institute, Films Boutique, Bac Films, CNC, TIFF, Mad Solutions, Film Clinic, ART, mk2 Films, Razor Films, Totem Films, Al Jazeera and El Gouna Film Festival.”

Previous projects that have taken part in the platform include Mohamed Kordofani’s Goodbye Julia in 2021, where, noted Sassine, “the partnership with its French co-producer Marc Irmer was first catalysed”.

Last year Goodbye Julia became the first Sudanese film to premiere at Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Freedom Prize in Un Certain Regard.

Other award-winning films that have passed through its doors include 200 Meters by Ameen Nayfeh, which premiered in the Giornate degli Autori sidebar at Venice in 2020, and A Son by Mehdi Barsaoui, which won the Venice Horizons award for best actor for Sami Bouajila in 2019. 

Aflamuna Connection selected projects:

In development

About Rym & Mariam (Tun-Egy)
Dir. Mirvet Kammoun

After Three Years Of Green (Syria)
Dirs. Alayham Ali, Amr Alshashou

American Dream (Egy)
Dir. Amir El Shenawy

And Me Too (Egy)
Dir. Sondos Shabayek

Ayn Hara (Iraq-It)
Dir. Yasir Kareem

Dancing on Fire (Saudi-Neth-Swe)
Dir. Hana Alomair

Dry Sky… Don’t Rain (Sud-Egy)
Dir. Ibrahim Omar

Edition 96 (Leb)
Dir. Ahmad Naboulsi

Finding Om El Ghaith (Jor)
Dir. Abeer Bayazidi

In Colors & In Black & White (Egy)
Dir. Randa Ali

Running With Beasts (Leb-Cze)
Dir. Leila Basma

Works-in-progress

A Butterfly Hug (Sud-Egy)
Dir. Sally Abo Basha

Moondove (Leb-Neth)
Dir. Karim Kassem

Salimi – Untold Stories (Pal)
Dir. Nidal Badarny

Originally published at https://www.screendaily.com/news/aflamuna-connection-selects-14-emerging-arab-filmmaker-projects-for-eighth-edition-exclusive/5191833.article

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